How to Remain Unruffled in the Face of Challenge


I’ve had a challenging youth overall but I’ve invested every effort possible in transcending my challenges, most of which I have. The future honestly looks bright, no matter how hard the past. The present is pretty good too. But no matter how much the Grace of the Guru and the Divine help me and protect me, karma and life do squeeze me sometimes. How do I stay patient in this beautiful unfolding that is not without its challenges? Or can I still get to a point where I’m unruffled by the drama?

—Pooja, India


Dear Pooja,

Life offers up challenges to everyone, but for the devotee challenges must be considered spiritual opportunities. How else will we realize that God must be invited into every corner of our lives unless all of the corners are explored? Our current challenge is our spiritual ‘growing edge’. Yes, we will all eventually get to the point where we are unruffled by drama, but the fact that we are just means we are still on the path to liberation and not yet fully Self-realized.

When you find yourself feeling squeezed be determined to call on God in the form you hold most dear to come to you and guide you. Try not to spend too much time judging yourself for any perceived failure but know that true spiritual success happens when we unite our will with God’s will. Call on God with all of the energy you can muster and then tune into what direction God would like you to put out positive energy now. Continue to tune in as you put out this energy listening for the next step, the subtle shift in direction needed, the openness to an opportunity needed. The most important aspect of a challenge spiritually is if we choose to turn to God for our solution. Really all else is details.

Because, as you mention, you had a challenging youth, you have learned how to put out lots of positive energy. I expect this has strengthened your will power. Devotees need a strong will! Consider your past challenges gifts. It requires strong will power to resist the downward and outward pull of the world and to cling to spiritual principles as the guiding force in your life.

Now it is time to join your will with the Divine Will as spiritual success is not accomplished alone. The formula for success as Yogananda defined it is 25% the devotee’s effort (which requires 100% commitment of the devotee’s energy), 25% the Guru’s effort on behalf of the devotee and 50% the grace of God.

On the topic of patience vs impatience, be patient with the ways of the world which will always be a play of opposites and never be perfect, but be impatient for spiritual progress in your own life.

Many blessings,
Nayaswami Mukti